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  21:19:48  7 March 2004
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KGBsuperspy
(Novice)
 
On forum: 07/22/2003
Messages: 34
Help Me!!!!

I sent my short story on December 31st, the day of the deadline and it hasn't been posted. What is going on? Please help me... I would really like it to be on the site while voting is still going on.

Here's the story, Heaven's A Lie:

The Zone has a certain surreal quality about it. It seems so detached from reality, as if all of this is not happening. Everything about this cesspool sickens me because it is so abnormal. When I get a rare break from the ever-present dangers of this place, I sleep. The dreams I have are the closest thing to not being here. Every time I get to the best part of a dream, I suddenly awaken and realize that I am still in Hell.

It is early autumn and the vegetation is still green. This is very fortunate because the only parka I own blends into the background very well. One reason I have survived this long in the Zone is my ability to not be seen. I am not well armed and stealth has become my chief asset.

It's been almost three whole days since I last talked to a human. I'll watch a few rival stalkers from long distance through binoculars occasionally, but I never interact with them at the risk of being shot. This is something that continuously lingers in the back of my mind. Sometimes I actually wonder what dying would be like, but some animalistic programming in my brain manages to keep me from experiencing it. The pain involved is unimaginable. Quick deaths in the Zone are a blessing for the recipient


A storm looms overhead in the distance. At least it looks like a storm. For all I know it could be another anomaly mysteriously spawning more mutants. After viewing that eerie sight, I know that these coming days going to stand out from all the rest.

I am Sergei Chernolov, a native Ukrainian. Serving my mandatory term in the army and being raised as a hunter on the Steppes has made me bitter and determined. My face is full of gritty stubble and my six foot, medium frame is feeling the burden of improper hygiene and perpetual sickness.

I knew about the Zone for quite awhile now, but it wasn't until recently that many people in my village set out to seek their fortunes. None of them returned. Rumors circulated around that they become wealthy enough and settled in a different area. Dreaming of an opportunity for a new life, I wanted to do the same. I arrived in the Zone about six months ago. I lost track of the days after the first month. Everything since then has been one life-threatening experience after another. You quickly realize that time is irrelevant when you're running for your life.

There are virtually no opportunities to let my guard down, especially since I received my mission. I got the job from a guy simply known to everyone as "The Dealer." This man is insane, he wears no protectional suits at all even though the area is teeming with radiation. His only defense is a shotgun. I'm very surprised that someone has not killed him yet, especially considering the amount of good men that he sent on suicide missions. I suppose it's just a matter of time before someone avenges the death of a fallen comrade.

The shrewd man gave me a devious proposition: go solo into the heart of the Zone and recover a stockpile of artifacts that was lost during transport. This shipment seemed to be very important to The Dealer because he spoke with a serious and grim tone. As a token to show he meant business, he handed me a factory new Dragonov SVU rifle and some ammunition. As I was on my way out there door he informed me that I am the best man for the job and the reward is great. One thing that troubled me is that he also cackled: "If you come back without the goods, don't expect a pleasant reception."

After a peaceful sleep, I set out on my mission immediately at dawn. I'm ridiculously weighted down with gear and as I pass through the valley that everyone has named "The Entrance to Oblivion" I see that mysterious storm again
  03:43:04  8 March 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
help you with what? Call FBI ? just a joke. You can't pressure GSC, mate. It never work. Let them do their job.
  04:33:40  13 March 2004
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KGBsuperspy
(Novice)
 
On forum: 07/22/2003
Messages: 34

---QUOTATION---
help you with what? Call FBI ? just a joke. You can't pressure GSC, mate. It never work. Let them do their job.
---END QUOTATION---



Well, I'm not trying to really pressure anyone. I would just like to know why my story never made it on the site when I submitted it on the last day for the contest. I realized that it's coming close to the end of the contest, that's why I would really really like for my story to be able to be voted on.

  06:05:37  13 March 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729

---QUOTATION---
help you with what? Call FBI ? just a joke. You can't pressure GSC, mate. It never work. Let them do their job.

Well, I'm not trying to really pressure anyone. I would just like to know why my story never made it on the site when I submitted it on the last day for the contest. I realized that it's coming close to the end of the contest, that's why I would really really like for my story to be able to be voted on.


---END QUOTATION---



Oh... oh yes, I forget your a newbie. My mistake. GSC actually announced that the voting system WILL be scraped (Thanks GSC and IanC!) because of its obviously flawed and abused system. They will be reading all the submission themselves, so don't worry about it. Those devs are good people.

I shall read your story after I downloaded it.
  06:53:32  13 March 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
Too bad I'm going to tear you apart, man.

1) First thing first- your title mismatch your story. Why? Why is Heaven's a Lie? Although you did mention it at the end of the story, well, let just say it is unfitting and you could have did better.

But your story do have quality in it, although I think it is within the best 30% of all the entree. First of all, you did establis character- not a lot of stoies actually do it. Complimetns from me.

now, continue to tear your story apart.
2)Giving you (the character) an SVU as a gift? This did not really portray the Dealer as a cheap S.O.B who don't care less about stalkers. A better suggestion is to give a AK-47 with blood- this will bring out the image that the Dealer really sent you to death, because he didn't even care about giving you a better weapon to help you survive, instead giving you a dead man's gun..
3) A lot of your sentence begin with "I", which mean it is something like "I do this, I do that". Try to reduce that to make your story interesting. But if I am you, I wouldn't worry too much as you did mix in lots of thoughts to make the story interesting and not boring to read. Good job.

Now, I would like to explain why this story is within the 30% of good stories, but not good enough (for me) to become a good top-ten quality story. Sure, you story is good- nice description and characterization, but... you make your character (a.k.a 'you') into a ultra-violent stalker, like he is someone who kill without remorse. This is the story I never like While many will have different view, my reason is this: - stalker are humans, many of them probably venture in to survive. Most stalkers are jsut normal humans, not SpecOps people or mercenary (note that I did not put ex-military) who kill enough people to feel neutral about it. While I'll exclude mutants, at least give your character a little feel of remorse after he killed the two-men recon team. If you had put that in, your story could have improve a lot.

Another reason is that you stated [After all the pain I've suffered to get here, I will just suffer more upon my return]. What pain? There's no pain. and this [Life in the Zone is a perpetual Hell and Heaven is a lie. On this note I shall partake in the ultimate liberation of mind, body, and soul -- death.] This too sounds as if The Zone is a graveyard. While I don't denied it is not, if your character really think so, why came at all? If he was to come to seek his fortune, at least he should have beared some hope that he would survive and endure everything, and that he would be rich and 'live happily ever after', literally. Your ending is the demise of your story, but even so, with repair, your story can be good.

And I'm done. Don't feel too intimidated by me- please bear in mind your story is quite good instead of being ordinary as your charcter is not the ordinary bloodlust type. Your story too included lots of thoughts which really made your story good to read. Also, do consider others advices too as I am not the only absolute people here who could comment.
  11:56:58  14 March 2004
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Kristophan
(Senior)
 
On forum: 12/10/2003
 

Message edited by:
Kristophan
03/14/2004 12:06:10
Messages: 120

---QUOTATION---
Help Me!!!!

I sent my short story on December 31st, the day of the deadline and it hasn't been posted. What is going on? Please help me... I would really like it to be on the site while voting is still going on.

---END QUOTATION---



Well, I sent my story in a week before the deadline (roughly) and I got a mail about a month ago saying it's be put on the site (just before the last lot got put up). It still isn't on the site.
I'm not too bothered, though. I imagine they're a bit busy just now and I'm fairly confident that it'll get judged anyway.

(Oh, it's called 'The Boy' and it's now languishing on page 2 of this forum, in case anyone is interested.)
  22:04:25  14 March 2004
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UltimaGecko
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 01/28/2004
Messages: 154
Just wondering here, but it seems like your character commits suicide or something because he shot a bunch of zombies. It doesn't seem like a logical step at this point, seeing as he's close to his objective and he wasn't even shooting people.

[After all the pain I've suffered to get here, I will just suffer more upon my return.]
In a physical sense, the only pain I see him suffering is probably hearing loss from being in a tunnel next to a grenade explosion...and possibly more physical pain, getting shot at on the way back.

Mentally it makes a bit more sense though. If you were going for mental pain, I would change some of the words in the second clause.

Your characters description seemed a little strange and misplaced. Sure, you've got to introduce him, but I never find myself walking through the woods and decide to describe my features to myself (I might think I need to shave, after scratching my neck, but that's only one part of a description). Personally, 3rd person stories are muche easier to describe character with.


Although on that note, the 1st person descriptions and analysis (such as the Moscow based accent of the soldiers) is nice.
  12:07:11  15 March 2004
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Goodspeed
(Senior)
 
On forum: 07/25/2003
 

Message edited by:
Goodspeed
03/15/2004 12:10:06
Messages: 70
Hi,

Just wanted to comment on your story, something I haven't done for a while now. First off, don't be alarmed about the delay in posting. The site is known for it's long time to post new stories. But in the end, they always get there. Somebody told me they even translate the stories into Russian and vice versa, so that would explain the long time. Just have patience, 's all I can say.

Now for your story. I haven't read as much as my buddy Amoki, so I can't really place it in the overall top ten or top 30%, but it sure scores fairly high on my own personal scoreboard. It has a bit of an unbalanced plot. There is a beginning, middle and end, but the last is cut very short, making it look 'unfinished'.

I kinda like your charachter. Sure, he's a bastard without remorse, but you finely describe how he has become so. And unlike Amoki, I don't think he is a mindless, ultra-violent killing machine, rather a dissillusioned, sad guy, who kills because he has to and stopped caring about it a long time ago. He hates himself for this, but is unable to do anything about it. He has no money to get out of there, neither does he have the hardware to make an easy buck. He has to rely on himself and therefore keep a low profile.

All this is very commendable and gives a more human aspect to the story, i.e. the weaknesses of human charachter. So now, for a few tips and comments.
- You need to practise your descriptive writing on how to portray the situation. The use of the five senses spring to mind particularly.
- Check for diversity in the sentences and the way they are constructed. Like Amoki already mentioned before me, a lot of sentences begin in the same way. This makes it monotonous.

A few things come across as odd.
- The free SVU rifle for example. Maybe if you made it a loaner, like the other Stalkers the guy is in debt to, it would make a great reason to stick around the zone, even when he realises it's a living hell. He simply loaned too much and doesn't make enough money to pay off (did you know this scheme was actually used to ensnare mine workers in the USA a long time ago? They set somebody up with a good house, decent furniture, seemingly good job, everything peachy. But in the end, they had no health insurance, virtually no income, because all the payoffs are deducted from their wages and no way to escape, because the big bosses controlled everything from the cops to the doctor. Then they forced them into 16 hour shifts in the coal mine.)
- The intense shoot out with the creatures. They are not described in any sense, which makes it quite soulless. And the guy caps dozens of them, without any apparent effort? Surely the convoy was better equipped and protected, why didn't they survive while your guy iced them easily?

Anyways, keep it up! I'd like to see more of this stuff.
  04:01:59  19 March 2004
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
Your suggestion, as always, are greater, Goodspeed.
  00:39:38  22 March 2004
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KGBsuperspy
(Novice)
 
On forum: 07/22/2003
Messages: 34
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm a young writer, so I'll blame any gripes you have with the story on that.

I worked on this story over the summer, then didn't do anything with it for months (got bored) Then in December it's like 'OH SNAP the contest is almost over!' so that explains the sudden ending. Plus the story hurts in quality because I wanted to keep it under a certain amount of pages. I didn't want my readers to get bored with tons of details, so I tried to make it right to the point as much as I could, while keeping it interesting.

Thanks to you all for the comments. Goodspeed, that's exactly how I feel about the story. Your understanding of the story is perfect... it's how I would've responded to Amonki, but you beat me to it (I've been busy) Good job.

After reading everything people said, I would revise the story, but alas, it wouldn't make any difference. I should've posted it here months ago so you guys could comment on it, but oh well. The story's fate is in the hands of the judges now.

Thanks.
 
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